Apparently, Google is now in talks with payment processors like Visa and PayPal to cut off funds to pirate or illegal sites. The Telegraph says Google wants to kill these sites by making sure they can't get any money.
Any site deemed "illegal" would be a target as would any site that doesn't respond to legal challenges.
The idea is that, by killing these sites this way, it won't have to make any more alterations to its search results, something it's been pressured into.
However, there are a couple of problems with this idea, the first being the most obvious, Google has absolutely no stake in any of this.
Google's ad network bans pirate sites, it always has, and, unless you count Google Wallet – which nobody uses, it's not a payment processor itself.
What's more, it doesn't really have any relation with Visa, MasterCard et. al. or any expertise in the area, so it's unclear what it could bring to the table or why it would be involved in any of this, apart from giving the impression that it's "doing" something about piracy.
Google has been working harder and harder to please Hollywood, the recording industry all those other old media companies that somehow believe the "internet" is Google and that Google is the internet.
No amount of rational arguments would dissuade them, it's hard for a company used to dealing with politicians or other big companies to understand something that isn't controlled by one or a few powerful men.
Their assumption is that the internet can't just "exist" as is, someone must be in charge and that someone is Google, they figure.
It doesn't make any sense, but, after years of trying to fight this label, Google has given up and is just caving to their demands, one at a time, in return getting one more movie or song to try to sell in the Play Store.
The most recent move of this nature is to penalize sites that get a lot of takedown notices
, on the assumption that any site which Hollywood hates must be illegal.
But changing search results makes some sense, working with PayPal to cut funding to random sites doesn't. In fact, The Verge claims
that its sources say there are no formal plans for any sort of program involving payments processors.
Still, Google has been pushing the idea of taking down pirate sites by going after their funding for a while, as an alternative to censoring search results, an idea it's still in favor of.